Micah Redmond: Smooth Tomato with Bakelite

Product Number: 002-774-0049

When it comes to a carver's signature pipe shape, the form usually fits into one of two categories. The first is a set-in-stone shape, virtually identical across renditions but perhaps diverse regarding finish, accents, and color palette. The second is a more loosely defined shape that maintains similar, characteristic aspects across iterations but with subtle nuances differentiating individual examples. Tom Eltang's Poker and Adam Davidson's Lorraine are perfect representations of that former category, each iteration of such designs more or less identical in silhouette but perhaps with varying finishes or accoutrements. Regarding the second category, though, signature shapes like Wolfgang Becker's Wasp and Micah Redmond's Tomato exemplify vast creativity across specific forms while staying true to a shape's defining features.

For our 7th annual American Pipe Making Exposition, Micah — one of the prolific artisans at BriarWorks in Tennessee — crafted one such rendition of his signature Tomato design. While each version is uniquely different, the consistent features of the shape usually comprise a squat, broad bowl with the aft line urged dramatically forward, a hearty shank that curves slightly upward, and a saddle stem marked by a domed base that echoes the bowl's curvature. What separates Redmond's various versions is the American carver's use of asymmetry, as well as varying the length of the shank.

This piece is one of Micah's long-shanked renditions, and the shank gradually tapers from the stem to the transition from which inflates the design's iconic Tomato bowl. Wrapped by a band of vertical grain, with birdseye above and below, the bowl is shapes to follow this band — the right side of the bowl rising higher than the left to follow the trajectory of the grain. Likewise, the oval shank is tilted rightward, matching the bowl orientation for added asymmetry that remains unified across the stummel. All dressed in a mahogany contrast stain with lighter, golden streaks, it bears a stem of neon-green Bakelite, fitting with the accent-stem theme of this year's Expo. Bakelite has become a popular stem material across American artisan pipe making in particular, and this piece from Micah beautifully exemplifies that artistic convention with a vibrant color palette that commends the stummel's shaping.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.88 in./149.35 mm.
  • Weight: 1.76 oz./49.90 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.38 in./35.05 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.12 in./28.45 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.75 in./44.45 mm.
  • Stem Material: Other
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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